Baixas and the Arc Iris
Baixas11 km north of Perpignan on the D614 and very close to the airport, is worth visiting if only to admire the walls of local stone interspersed with terracotta. It is a form of building much favoured locally and the walls of Baixas are some of the best around. It also has a huge XIV church, ND des Anges with an impressive crenulated tower. There are four gates in the medieval walls and, above the town, the hermitage Sainte Catherine makes a good focal point for a walk through the garrigue.
Waste to Energy: the pot of gold at the end of the Arc Iris?
Out of Baixas on the D614 a sign on the right points to l’usine d’incineraton. And, through the vineyards and a conglomeration of electrical pylons, gleaming in the distance, is a magnificent factory dedicated to the recycling of paper, metal and plastic and of turning our household rubbish into usable energy.
Waste to Energy. What a brilliant concept.
Sydetom 66 is the association responsible for collecting all the household rubbish of the P O. Cydel is the private company that operates the factory that converts it either into neat blocks of recyclable materials or into electricity. Active since 2002/3 45,000 tonnes of household rubbish a year are treated. In general, 90% of rubbish collected can be recycled. The energy created by combustion of the remaining waste produces enough electricity to light a town of 20,000 inhabitants. 20% serves all the needs of the factory, the remaining 80% is sold to the EDF.
Ecological and economical, a visit to “Le Centre de Tri” at Arc Iris demonstrates the importance of recycling. (Should you have had any doubts). From the outside, the two stylishly designed buildings resemble the Museum of Modern Art in Bilbao. Inside, the task performed may not be water to wine, but, waste what waste? Pretty miraculous. In the smaller one, impressive machines sift the paper, cartons and plastic. Great conveyor belts roll recyclable rubbish up and down and round, ending in a room where several mean and women complete the sorting process. Finally all recyclable material is compressed into packages and stored to be sold and re-invented. Any rogue rubbish is redirected to the larger building that houses the ovens of incineration. It is to this building that household and hospital waste is taken. The system of combustion is fast and efficient. No waste: for example, the new TGV line to Barcelona is based on the Cydel factory cinders, others are re-used in road building. And the smoke? It is purified and purified till all that returns to the atmosphere is a little small trail of non toxic vapour.
04 68 57 86 86 to arrange a visit. .